Infectious diseases of the skin

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 16.03.2021

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Skin diseases caused by defined pathogens in different resistance states of the organism.

A distinction is made between:

  • Primary infection: initial infection, i.e. the first contact of an organism with a pathogen.
  • Secondary infection: transmission of pathogens, which occurs after the initial infection in addition and with other pathogens. The course of such a disease is usually more severe and shows a variety of symptoms.
  • Superinfection: A preceding infection (e.g. viral infection) provides the basis for another (e.g. bacterial infection).
  • Double infection: Refers to a simultaneous infection with two different pathogens.

Differentiation according to the origin of the pathogens:

  • Endogenous infections occur when the immune system is weakened by the body's own, normally completely harmless flora in the form of a pathogen invasion, e.g. on the skin or from the stomach, intestines and lungs into the patient's own body (like a wound infection by one's own coliform bacteria).
  • Exogenous infections are caused by infectious agents from the environment.
  • Nosocomial infections are acquired in a hospital, doctor's office, or other medical facility.
  • Iatrogenic infections are caused by unintentional introduction of pathogens to the staff themselves or to the patient when a physician or other health care professional is performing medical procedures. See also MRSA, ESBL.
  • Opportunistic infections are caused by pathogens to which there is natural immunity under normal immune system function

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According to the diseases and pathogens relevant to the dermatologist, the following classification can be made:


Last updated on: 16.03.2021